“If you want to understand the world,” Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Nicholas Kristof once said, “you need to understand Asia.”
Asian Studies Program at Eastern Kentucky University is helping students do just that.
The program, which offers an academic minor and certificate, critically examines the cultures, societies, languages, histories, religions and politics of Asians and peoples of Asian descent throughout the world.
An understanding of Asia enhances not only students’ understanding of the world, but also their prospects for employment in a wide variety of fields, including but not limited to international trade and industry, teaching and research, translation and interpretation, foreign policy and diplomacy, human rights and development, and immigration and social service.
Courses encompass a broad range of disciplines, including Comparative Literature, Criminal Justice, Cultural Studies, Dance, English, Exercise and Sport Science, Foreign Languages, Geography, History, Justice Studies, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Religion and Women and Gender Studies.
Because of its interdisciplinary nature and broadly humanistic outlook, the program strengthens the University’s liberal arts programs. It also contributes to the development and graduation of informed, critical and creative thinkers who communicate effectively, which is the theme of the University’s Quality Enhancement Plan. In terms of the recruitment, development and retention of not only high-quality students but also high-quality faculty, it helps make the University more competitive, both locally and nationally.
Coursework will be augmented with enrichment activities such as lectures, discussions, workshops, performances (in music, theater and dance), art exhibitions, film screenings, field trips and social events.
The Asian Studies Program provides students and faculty an opportunity to integrate Asian-centered courses in various disciplines into a coherent area of study. Also, events focused on Asia attract large audiences, as evidenced by several well-attended presentations in recent years.
The program is the work of almost 30 faculty and staff members from various academic programs and units, with the critical input of and support from President Michael Benson, Provost Janna Vice, and the Dean of the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences Sara Zeigler.